Steve Spurrier stumps for stipends
HOOVER, Ala. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave a peek behind the curtain of the annual SEC coaches meetings Tuesday, revealing that the league's coaches voted unanimously that every student-athlete in basketball and football should be given a stipend affording their parents travel expenses to and from games.
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The league's elder statesman among football coaches said it is only right that those players who generate the school so much money should be given what would amount to a minor benefit.
"We believe those two sports, the income producers, those players -- most of them come from lower-income families -- that we should provide some expense money so their parents can go to the games -- lodging, travel, meals, what have you," Spurrier said. "We're only talking about in football like $300 a game, basketball would be a little less, where the players in the course of the year have $3,600-$3,900, depending on how many games you play, just to have a little bit of pocket money and their parents can have money to come to games."
Spurrier has pushed for stipends for the past two years, and reiterated Tuesday that all the SEC football and basketball coaches agreed their players deserved what would amount to pocket change compared to the money generated from ticket sales and television revenue. He said it wasn't "pay-for-play," but rather expense money. In fact, Spurrier said the coaches would pay for the expenses out of pocket, if need be.
"I'm going to keep fighting for our guys," Spurrier said. "If President Obama would say, 'Spurrier, you and those coaches need to quit fighting for your players, they get enough with a full scholarship,' then I'll shut up about it."
The SEC coaches' vote cannot actually change anything. A change in policy would have to be approved by both the SEC and NCAA.
Spurrier then turned his attention to another topic that felt out of left field at SEC media days in Hoover, Ala. The often gregarious coach brought Notre Dame into the mix, wondering aloud why the Fighting Irish are allowed to operate as an individual entity while most schools are part of a larger conference. Notre Dame became a partial ACC member this month, yet its football team won't begin its limited five-games-per-year deal with the conference until 2014.
"We're trying to figure out why the athletic director of Notre Dame is equal to all of the conference commissioners, and no one had a good answer except that's the way it's always been done," Spurrier said.
"All 14 of our head coaches thought that Notre Dame should join the ACC to play football like all the rest of us," he said. "Notre Damers can get mad at me and us coaches for saying that … but from the rest of us that are in conferences, we say, 'Why aren't they in a conference?' It's hard to figure out why."